The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah has been looking for a new home since Ogden City received an eviction notice in March.
After searching for a new home since March, northern Utah’s only wildlife rehabilitation center may have a new home — but it’s not certain.
DaLyn Marthaler, executive director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, said the Ogden-based wildlife rescue may have a new temporary home at 332 S. Washington Blvd. could have. in Ogden, just a few miles up the road from its current location. The building is an old retail space with a 100+ year old apartment building to the rear which would allow for even more space.
“We’re in,” said Marthaler on Wednesday. “We found one [spot] that we strive for. It’s not secured yet, but we’re working on it.”
But even if the WRCNU were to buy the property, which it hopes to complete in July, the rescue’s problems are far from solved.
Marthaler said the WRCNU still has to obtain permits and meet requirements set out in a cease-and-desist agreement with Ogden City to receive an extension to its current lease, which would push the eviction date by six months. The expansion, which the city and WRCNU signed in May, would give the rehab center some breathing space, but time is still of the essence.
WRCNU has operated rent free in a building owned by the City of Ogden for over 13 years. The eviction of the group, which Marthaler previously described as “out of the blue,” gave them until September 6 to move out. The building they occupied will likely be demolished to expand nearby Ogden Dinosaur Park.
The rehabilitation center had to close to new patients from May 15, and Marthaler said the WRCNU was still caring for between 200 and 300 animals. Their patients can range from large birds like eagles to smaller mammals like beavers and river otters.
A potential move to Washington Boulevard would be temporary to the rescue. Marthaler said if the deal went through, there would be a long list of repairs needed: replacing the flooring, installing plumbing, painting the walls.
“There’s 100 years of dust in there,” she said. “So there’s going to be a lot of cleanup.”
But a possible move comes with tough decisions, like what kind of animals they can care for. For example, WRCNU’s current building features a stainless steel tank that costs her thousands and allows her to care for aquatic animals like pelicans and beavers. You cannot take the pool with you.
“We were the only ones in the entire state who did that,” Marthaler said. “So there will be no one who takes (aquatic animals).”
She anticipates that WRCNU will remain at its next location for around five years. Meanwhile, the rescue would raise money to buy land and build a facility tailored to their needs. Marthaler added that the future building would “look essentially like the facility we’re in right now.”